Kaloom Leverages Kubernetes to Advance SDNs

Kaloom has made generally available a software defined fabric that leverages Kubernetes to make a common set of networking services available across multiple platforms.

Company CTO Suresh Krishnan says the cloud-native Kaloom Software Defined Fabric (SDF) was developed using a P4 language designed for programming data planes in networking environments. The combination of Kubernetes and P4 makes it possible to integrate SDF across multiple software-defined networking (SDN) controllers found in OpenStack environments or in any instance of open source OpenDaylight software.

Kaloom has also been pre-tested and certified to work across “white box” offerings from Accton, Delta and Foxconn.

Krishnam says the Kaloom SDF is a significant step forward in terms of melding NetOps with DevOps. Kaloom SDF enables zero-touch provisioning of the virtual network and associated components. Network provisioning time is reduced from several days to minutes, and the network is automatically updated during runtime. Kaloom SDF also provides self-forming and self-discovery capabilities.

Additional compute and storage resources can be dynamically assigned or removed via the associated vFabric, thereby creating a flexible and elastic pool of network resources. That capability enables a physical data center to be partitioned into multiple independent virtual data centers (vDCs). Each vDC operates with its own Virtual Fabric (vFabric) and can host millions of IPv4- or IPv6-based tenant networks.

The transition to SDNs in general has been slow for reasons spanning everything from a continued preference to command line interfaces (CLIs) on the part of network administrators to the rate at which routers and switches are typically upgraded in the enterprise. The issue that creates from a DevOps perspective is that although it takes only a few minutes to provision a virtual machine, a DevOps team can still find itself waiting weeks for NetOps teams to allocate resources.

While significant progress has been made in terms of advancing SDN platforms, DevOps teams are now encountering islands of network automation across the enterprise. The Kaloom SDF represents an attempt to head that issue off by providing a network fabric based on Kubernetes that functions as an overlay between multiple SDN instances.

It’s unclear to what degree enterprise IT organizations are making the shift to SDNs. Most of the interest in SDNs has been led by telecommunications carriers that need to find ways to deliver network services at scale to support, for example, emerging 5G and internet of things (IoT) applications. But as enterprise IT organizations continue to embrace DevOp processes it’s only a matter of time before a critical mass of applications require enterprise IT organizations to find a more efficient way to provision and update network services. In some cases that will mean upgrading the physical network upgrade to become an SDN. In other cases, organizations will rely on network virtualization software to provide a flexible overlay on top of an existing legacy network.

Whatever the path chosen, it’s clear that Kubernetes will be one of the primary mechanisms organizations in the future will be employing to bridge all the islands of network automation that will exist within and between IT organizations.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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